UFC Fighter Bibulatov: “Never Saw Gays in Chechnya”
A mere few hours after being defeated inside the ring at UFC Fortaleza in Brazil, Chechen fighter Magomed Bibulatov got on Twitter to address critics of the gay purge in his home republic.
I swear to god i never saw gays in chechnya. What kind of fools are you?
Bibulatov is a close associate of the two main architects of the gay purge in Chechnya — Ramzan Kadyrov and Magomed Vismuradov. About half the photos on his Instagram account (148,000 followers) are of either Kadyrov, Vismuradov, or Kadyrov’s Akhmat fight club.
On Saturday, renewed focus was placed on the UFC’s ties to Chechnya’s dictator Kadyrov when Bibulatov competed in an undercard of UFC on ESPN+ 2. The previous day, he had missed making weight for the flyweight division even after stripping naked for the scale. He was fined 20 percent of his purse, which went to his opponent Rogério Bontorin. By split decision, the newcomer Bontorin went on to win the official non-title fight.
Kadyrov and other government figures in the Muslim republic and as far away as Moscow, have repeatedly claimed that Chechnya has no gay population at all. In contrast, the Russian LGBT Network believes about 40 residents have been imprisoned since December 2018 in a second wave of purges – two of the prisoners they say have died under torture.
The most famous victim of the first purge was the young singer Zelim Bakaev, who went missing in August 2017 and has not been heard from since. Russia has refused to open a criminal investigation into his disappearance, prompting 16 countries to invoke the Moscow Mechanism for carrying out a human-rights inquiry.